The Autism Society Supports the Keeping All Students Safe Act, Which Seeks to Establish National Guidelines for the Use of Restraint and Seclusion in Schools
May 10, 2013
By Autism Society
Everyday all over this country, our children are being restrained and secluded unnecessarily by teachers and staff who have no obligation to follow any nationally standardized safety guidelines and who cannot be held accountable for their actions. In 2009, a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study documented 20 deaths of school
children from unsafe restraint and seclusion. In March 2012, the Civil Rights Data Collection showed that nearly 40,000 students were physically restrained during the 2009-10 school year. The data also showed that restraint and seclusion were used disproportionately upon students with disabilities and students of color.
America’s schools, which educate over 55 million children, remain the only institutions not governed by federal statutes and regulations addressing seclusion and restraint, whereas, hospitals, mental health facilities, and psychiatric institutions are under strict federal oversight and regulations. Presently, there is no federal statute in place to protect children nationwide; state laws govern the use of restraint and seclusion, and vary widely– a patchwork of laws, regulations, voluntary guidance, and complete silence covers the nation.
The Autism Society has joined 200 other national, state and local organizations, to ask Congress to establish a national policy protecting students in schools from restraint and seclusion. The Keeping All Students Safe Act (KSSA), HR #1893 was introduced yesterday by United States Representative George Miller (D-CA), a ranking member of the House Education & Workforce Committee and Congressman Gregg Harper (R-MS) to safeguard our nation’s children from unsafe and unnecessary restraint and seclusion.
The Autism Society believes restraint and seclusion should only be used in emergency situations where physical harm is imminent. Seclusion and restraint are risky- emergency interventions should only be used when necessary to protect individuals from severe physical danger. Studies have shown that replacing restraint and seclusion with positive interventions and supports like those included in the Keeping All Students Safe Act provides more safety to students and staff, and significantly decreases Worker’s Compensation costs.
The Autism Society urges Congress to act swiftly on our children’s behalf by passing the "Keeping All Students Safe Act" to ensure that all students receive behavioral supports rather than be subjected to these dangerous and largely unregulated practices. The Restraint and Seclusion Bill introduced into the U.S. House will ensure the health and safety of our nation's school children.
April 10, 2013
The Autism Society, the nation’s largest and oldest grassroots autism organization, has chosen Pittsburgh as the host city of its 44th annual conference on autism spectrum disorders.
April 5, 2013
Individuals with autism can attend the Autism Society National Conference and Exposition (in Pittsburgh) for FREE this year! Learn more: www.autism-society.org/conference.
April 3, 2013
Monarch Teaching Technologies, the makers of VizZle®, web-based educational software for visual learners with autism, will give one-year of free VizZle to every new (or renewing) Champion Member during April.
April 2, 2013
Read the Autism Society’s digital magazine about autism spectrum disorders!
April 2, 2013
Today, throughout the world, individuals will come together highlighting the needs and dreams of people living with autism.